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Top 5 Forklift Safety Tips for Employees

Forklifts are one of those modern wonders that makes life so much easier. When it comes to warehouse operations, it would certainly make it harder to move items without a forklift. For employers, this means only having to hire five forklift operators versus twenty strong individuals to carry items. However, forklifts are complicated and heavy machines that can be dangerous if not operated correctly. Forklifts can tip, fall, crash and increase the risk of serious injury if warehouse workers are not careful. So, it is critical to not only know exactly how to drive and operate a forklift, but also how to operate one safely. When it comes down to it, business owners can reduce the risk of injury to workers and reduce worker’s comp claims at the same time. Here are the top five forklift safety tips for employees.

  1. Always wear a seatbelt. This is an obvious one, but some people assume that because forklifts aren’t going very fast, that they don’t need a seatbelt. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Seat belts are even more important in forklifts than in any other machine or vehicle. The main reason for this is tipping incidents. If the forklift tips, you don’t want to be thrown overboard.
  2. Always load the correct weight. It is important for employees to know how much weight a certain forklift can carry. An employee might think that they can carry a certain load, but it could prove disastrous if they can’t. Not only can this cause injury, but it can also cause damage to goods. So, make sure that you know exactly what kind of payload each and every forklift in your fleet can carry. If you have need more lifting power, you might need a forklift with more capacity.
  3. Always be aware when driving a forklift. Just like you stay vigilant in a regular four door vehicle, you should stay especially vigilant in a forklift. If you have a busy and chaotic warehouse – with lots of activity – it is important that the forklift operator has a clear view of everything around them. That little beeping sound that goes off will only do so much if you aren’t looking behind you when reversing.
  4. Always keep safety information around, so that employees never forget some of the risks of operating a forklift. Not only should these lists be posted visually, but there should also be some sort of symbolic reference on the forklifts as well. Not only that, but you might also want to have annual training lessons, just to make sure employees never forget. In fact, IPAF training courses have some great lessons on safety in the warehouse – especially forklift operation.
  5. Always drive slowly. Slow and steady does it when you are operating a forklift. The last thing you want is to damage something in the warehouse or cause an injury to someone else. So, make sure that these speed limits are posted throughout the warehouse – it could end up saving a life.

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